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FALSE! Liberia government has not imported earth-moving machines

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Claim: A Facebook user alleged that the Liberian government has imported into the country heavy-duty trucks manufactured by Caterpillar Incorporated, a US-based company. 

Full Text

Liberia’s Minister of State without Portfolio, Ms Mamaka Bility, disclosed on Friday, May 24, 2024, that the government is working to procure 285 pieces of earth-moving equipment to implement its road programme. 

The government’s road programme includes reconstructing and maintaining existing roads and building new roads and maintenance zones across 15 counties. The Minister revealed that each county would receive 19 pieces of earth-moving equipment when the equipment arrived.

However, weeks after the Minister’s disclosure, a Facebook user alleged that the heavy yellow machines had arrived in the country. The Facebook user wrote on June 6, 2024, that:

“Update now from the Freeport of Monrovia! The yellow machines bought by the JNB and JKK administration have just arrived in Liberia.”

Another Facebook user who reacted to the post wrote:

“I don’t trust these Facebook posts ooo… Let’s hear it from the information Minister.”

DUBAWA decided to probe the claim as part of its campaign against misinformation and disinformation in Liberia.

Verification

Liberia’s Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services, Daniel O. Sando, has disputed the claim on social media.

The Minister told DUBAWA on June 21, 2024, that: 

“The information is not true. The government has not even decided to purchase the road-building equipment.”

According to him, the government will engage the media when the decision to purchase the machines is finally reached.

“When there is any new development about the 285 yellow machines disclosed by the government, we will inform Liberians through the media,” he said.

DUBAWA further scrutinised the pictures the Facebook user shared with verification tools such as Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye. However, some of the pictures were found to have originated from a Facebook post shared by Malaysian-based construction company Macipion Global Construction Equipment on Jan. 13, 2024. 

Also, a Google keyword search conducted by DUBAWA showed that no reputable media organisation in Liberia reported on the arrival of the earth-moving machines. DUBAWA contacted the claimant to inquire about the source of his claim, but he has yet to respond.

Conclusion

Based on the information gathered by DUBAWA, it is not true that the government of Liberia has brought yellow machines into the country.

The researcher produced this fact-check under the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Radio Gbarnga, FM 96.5 MHz, to facilitate the spirit of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy.

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